#1105: The Flaming Winnebago

Original Air Date: 01.29.2011

   Best Moment

This week's Car Talk, a family learns that "Haste Makes Fire" after a roadside repair of their Winnebago winds up landing them on Smoky the Bear's Most Wanted list. It's the latest installment in our series of auto-confessionals. Then it's off to Indiana, where Linda has put her Junior High class on hold so she can find out why her Accord is fishtailing. Is her problem serious enough to get Tom and Ray to stop touting the values of an 8th Grade education long enough to offer a diagnosis? Also, what advice do our hosts have for prospective parents of twins who'd rather "drive a horse and buggy than a minivan"? Well, it starts with, "Saddle up!" All this plus a quick lesson in the virtues of the delayed dope slap, and lots more, this week, on Car Talk

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How did the missionaries get their car started again? Find out!

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How did we figure out that Romans drove on the left?

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Auto confessions: the tale of the flaming Winnebago.

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Minivan is NOT the only answer for 3 carseats!

by southFLmom

Please consider the Mazda5--it's got compact stature, sporty handling, and fairly good MPG. And it has some of the more important features of a minivan: it SEATS SIX in three rows, has sliding rear doors, and an additional small cargo space in the rear that fits a stroller. It's great for zipping around, super easy to park, and even has a fold-down option for the third-row seats when you need more cargo space. Also, please consider the Ford Taurus X as a small SUV with decent MPG if you need three rows with roomier seating for six plus much more cargo space (easily fits a double stroller).

VW bus or a lousy minivan

by greenbus

As a Vw bus driver I highly recommend a Vanagon as a minivan. We have two kids and had a 2001 passat wagon, however the cost of repairs began to build and build, the car was more then nickel and diming us to death with only 150,000 miles. So my wife and I started to discuss minivans. My wife would be the one driving it, she proclaimed I am too young to drive a soccer mom horrible minivan, However I will drive a VW bus! So I went on the search for the perfect Vanagon. We found a 1989 Vanagon Bluestar with the rear facing jump seats with a table for the kids to color at when we are parked. the bus has lots of storage for spare clothing, diapers and toys under the back seat. The Vanagon we found had over 300,000 miles, we paid less then $1000. for it, we did to have to have the shift linkage adjusted. we found a reputable mechanic and he had it fixed in just a few minutes. the thing runs great, and will cruise down the highway at 70mph without a single problem. the kids love it, and everyone is happy. We love our vanagon bus so much we bought another in a Westfalia camper package. when we have had any questions we can easily find the answer on www.thesamba.com. we have never been stranded by any vanagon, however our chevy truck left us stranded with a bad transmission, and it only had 100,000 miles. My advice is if you don't want to drive a Minivan, and want a VW bus. Go for it, driving it is going to bring you far more joy then the few times it brings you grief. Find a VW mechanic that is recommended and join some online VW forums for all your other questions. As far as Safety, the Vanagon sits up as high as most Suvs! I hope this helps those folks that have kids but don't want to have to drive a minivan! Remember at some point all cars break down, however your going to have hard luck finding as much support as you are going to find owning a VW bus! when my chevy truck had broke down in a parking lot nobody had offered help, However when I broke down on the highway with my vanagon, I had 3 cars stop to help, all VW bus owners at some point, and had me back on the road in just a few minutes! www.thesamba.com www.fullmoonbusclub.com www.busdepot.com www.gowesty.com

Bats are grateful for your support!

by John Benjamin

Guys, Bats are so little known or understood and are not appreciated for their great help to us human beings and all the rest of the critters that inhabit our planet. When the caller complained about bats in his garage and suggested asphixiating them by turning on the vehicles and closing the garage doors, you guys did the right thing and discouraged him. He had many other, much better ways to evict the bats. This is a particularly bad time for bats thanks to "White Nose Syndrome" that is killing them by the millions as they hybernate. WNS sounds like a joke until you hear the details of the destruction it is causing. We are grateful to you for having a bat house in your yard, such help to bats will be even more important as they try to avoid WNS. Bat Conservation International has a great deal of information on WNS as does the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Here at Carlsbad Caverns National Park we are very concerned. Again, thank you for being bat friendly in your response to the man. If you come and visit Carlsbad Caverns, we have a bat with your name on it! John

going downhill in neutral

by deisenlohr

See my comment


by johnjeka

I enjoy the frankness your show, but today you crossed a line. When addressing a class of 8th graders, you told them that everything they were going to learn from now on was useless. You specifically mentioned Calculus.."you will never use calculus". That is a dangerous message to send to a group of impressionable minds. The radio waves over which you broadcast your show is based on spectral theory, which would not be possible without calculus. Measuring the viscosity of oil, so important to your cars, would not be possible without calculus. You both use calculus everyday. You are right, that the vast majority of people will never use calculus directly, as in doing the math. But that same majority is touched everyday by the benefits calculus has brought to our society.

Another Automotive Confession

I'll just pour this into that while you crank the other thing.  What could go wrong?

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